Genetic variations in the glucocorticoid receptor gene are not related to glucocorticoid resistance in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
ABSTRACT Glucocorticoid sensitivity is an important prognostic factor in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). For its antileukemic effect, glucocorticoid binds the intracellular glucocorticoid receptor (GR) subsequently regulating transcription of downstream genes. We analyzed whether genetic variations within the GR gene are related to differences in the cellular response to glucocorticoids. METHODS: In leukemic samples of 57 children, the GR gene was screened for nucleotide variations using a PCR/single-strand conformational polymorphism sequencing strategy. Data were linked to in vivo and in vitro glucocorticoid resistance. RESULTS: No somatic mutations were detected in the GR gene coding region, but six polymorphisms (i.e., ER22/23EK, N363S, BclI, intron mutation 16 bp upstream of exon 5, H588H, and N766N) were identified. In 67% of ALL cases, at least one minor allele of these polymorphisms was detected. Although only borderline significant, the incidence for the N363S polymorphism minor allele was higher (12% versus 6%, P = 0.06) and for the ER22/23EK minor allele lower (4% versus 7.6%, P = 0.1) than in a healthy, comparable population. The different genotypes of the polymorphisms were not related to prednisone resistance. In conclusion, polymorphisms but not somatic mutations in the GR gene coding region occur in leukemic blasts of children with ALL. Our data suggest that these genetic variations are not a major contributor for differences in cellular response to glucocorticoids in childhood ALL. The higher incidence of the N363S minor allele and the lower incidence of the ER22/23EK minor allele in our ALL population as compared with a normal population warrants further research.
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ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GCs) are among the most important drugs for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), yet despite their clinical importance, the exact mechanisms involved in GC cytotoxicity and the development of resistance remain uncertain. We examined the baseline profile of a panel of T-ALL cell lines to determine factors that contribute to GC resistance without prior drug selection. Transcriptional profiling indicated GC resistance in T-ALL is associated with a proliferative phenotype involving upregulation of glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, cholesterol biosynthesis and glutamate metabolism, increased growth rates and activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MYC signalling pathways. Importantly, the presence of these transcriptional signatures in primary ALL specimens significantly predicted patient outcome. We conclude that in lymphocytes the activation of bioenergetic pathways required for proliferation may suppress the apoptotic potential and offset the metabolic crisis initiated by GC signalling. It is likely that the link between GC resistance and proliferation in T-ALL has not been fully appreciated to date because such effects would be masked in the context of current multiagent therapies. The data also provide the first evidence that altered expression of wild-type MLL may contribute to GC-resistant phenotypes. Our findings warrant the continued development of selective metabolic inhibitors for the treatment of ALL.British Journal of Cancer 03/2010; 102(7):1200. DOI:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605632 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoid receptor agonists are mainstays in the treatment of various malignancies of hematological origin. Glucocorticoids are included in therapeutic regimens for their ability to stimulate intracellular signal transduction cascades that culminate in alterations in the rate of transcription of genes involved in cell cycle progression and programmed cell death. Unfortunately, subpopulations of patients undergoing systemic glucocorticoid therapy for these diseases are or become insensitive to glucocorticoid-induced cell death, a phenomenon recognized as glucocorticoid resistance. Multiple factors contributing to glucocorticoid resistance have been identified. Here we summarize several of these mechanisms and describe the processes involved in generating a host of glucocorticoid receptor isoforms from one gene. The potential role of glucocorticoid receptor isoforms in determining cellular responsiveness to glucocorticoids is emphasized.Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 11/2008; 300(1-2):7-16. DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2008.10.001 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite the greatly improved treatment regimes for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in general, resulting in long-term survival in approximately 80% of cases, current therapies still fail in >50% of ALL cases diagnosed within the first year of life (i.e. in infants). Therefore, more adequate treatment strategies are urgently needed to also improve the prognosis for these very young patients with ALL. Here we review the current acquaintance with the biology of infant ALL and describe how this knowledge may lead to innovative therapeutic approaches.British Journal of Haematology 04/2006; 132(5):539-51. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2005.05909.x · 4.96 Impact Factor